Being convicted of one DUI carries serious penalties that may include time in the county jail (maximum of 6 months). Having this fate a second time can bring about a minimum of 10 days in jail if the conviction is within 5 years of the first. A third conviction for drunk driving within 10 years of the prior conviction becomes a third-degree felony and requires that a person spend a minimum of 30 days in jail. A fourth or subsequent DUI, regardless of when they occurred, also constitutes a third-degree felony. See Section 316.193, Fla. Stat. 2012.
While these are minimums, the penalties can be much more severe depending on the facts of each individual person’s case. A third-degree felony is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a $5,000 fine.
The Monday, November 19, 2012 edition of the Miami Herald included a rather amusing story that touched on penalties for multiple DUI convictions. A Kendall man, with two prior DUI arrests, was on his way home after working “72 hours” on a Key West road construction project when he was stopped for going 110 mph (85 mph over the speed limit!) by Monroe County Sheriff, according the Herald article.
The man not only ended up blowing nearly twice the legal limit but also claimed to have killed people in the past in order to intimidate the police, offered a bribe of $30,000, spoke of having 9 cats and about having worked for Pablo Escobar.
While Mr. Cheney is just one example of what can happen when you have multiple DUI convictions, a three or four-strike policy is not the only way to be charged with felony DUI. A person may also be charged with felony driving under the influence if they are involved in an accident that includes serious bodily injury and can even charged with higher level felonies if they are involved in DUI Manslaughter.